Indiana Governor and possible 2016 GOP Presidential contender Mike Pence will be starting a Pravda-esque
state-run news agency called Just IN to spin his propaganda (or Penceganda) out to his loyal followers. Just IN will be editorially helmed by former Indy Star
columnist Bill McCleery.
This is a serious breach of ethics, Mr. Pence, and it might come back to haunt you should you run for office in 2016!
Tom LoBianco at Indy Star:
One target audience for the governor's stories would be smaller newspapers that have only a few staffers. But not everyone thinks state-run journalism best serves the public interest.
Daniel Strauss at TPM:
"I think it's a ludicrous idea," said Jack Ronald, publisher of one such newspaper, the Portland Commercial Review. "I have no problem with public information services — the Purdue University agriculture extension service does a great job. But the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press."
The starting of Pence's news agency comes as he considers a run for the White House. He has also gained national attention for his efforts to win an expansion of Medicaid using a state-run alternative. He is expected to deliver news on the proposed health care expansion Tuesday morning.
Government-run media exists elsewhere in the U.S. Illinois runs the Illinois Government News Network, which distributes press releases in a more newsy format and the federal government runs Voice of America, even though VOA is only broadcast outside the U.S.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is starting a state-run news agency that will offer pre-written stories to news outlets in the state, according to The Indianapolis Star, which obtained documents about the news service.
The new news service, called "Just IN" will also sometimes offer stories about Pence's administration. The site is set to launch in the later half of February. Stories will be written by state press secretaries and will be overseen by Bill McCleery, a former reporter for the Star.
"At times, Just IN will break news —publishing information ahead of any other news outlet," a question and answer sheet that went out to communications directors for state agencies said. "Strategies for determining how and when to give priority to such 'exclusive' coverage remain under discussion."
A governance board of communications directors will oversee the agency. The editorial board will be made up of Pence's communications team and McCleery.
This reeks of full-blown Kim Jong-un/Putin/Chávez/Erdoğan-level insanity.